Monday, December 10, 2018

NC IDEA Foundation and LocalstakeNC Announce a New Grant Program to Support Investment Crowdfunding Campaigns

By Mark Easley

About Mark Easley
NC IDEA Foundation has announced a new grant program that provides grants to North Carolina startups and existing businesses that are preparing investment crowdfunding campaigns to raise capital. NC IDEA has partnered with the North Carolina investment crowdfunding platform LocalstakeNC to help companies cover the costs of creating and promoting an investment crowdfunding campaign on the LocalstakeNC platform.

Investment crowdfunding is a new way for businesses to raise money by selling debt or equity securities to the public using an investment crowdfunding platform like LocalstakeNC. Businesses can sell equity securities including preferred or common stock or SAFEs, or debt securities including convertible notes, revenue share loans, or promissory note loans. Now NC businesses and startups can use new securities laws including the NC PACES Act (raise up to $2M), the Federal JOBS Act Regulation Crowdfunding (raise up to $1M), and Reg A+ (raise up to $50M) to raise funds, and both accredited and non-accredited investors can invest in North Carolina startups and businesses that offer securities using these laws. LocalstakeNC also supports 506(B), 506(C), and 504 offerings.
 

As NC IDEA states in their press release:

"Platforms like Localstake NC have emerged over the last few years to help companies raise investment capital from individual investors. The recent passage of the NC PACES Act gives North Carolina companies another mechanism to raise capital from individuals in a compliant and organized manner. Conversely, these platforms allow all individuals regardless of accreditation to support local companies with their investment dollars. While this mechanism has helped thousands of companies across the country successfully raise capital, to date, few companies in North Carolina have taken advantage of this potential alternative to raising money. Through a competitive application process similar to other Foundation programs, NC IDEA will award $5,000 grants to selected companies wishing to expand their businesses via investment crowdfunding on Localstake NC this Spring. Grant recipients will be supported by NC IDEA and work directly with Localstake NC to have an active fundraiser on their platform by May 2019. Grant funds will be used to pay for platform fees ($2K) with the remainder directed toward supporting marketing materials and other related expenses."

NC IDEA Investment Crowdfunding Grant applications will be open from December 17th to January 28th.

Want to learn more and apply? See the Crowdfunding Grant Announcement here. And you can learn more about the Crowdfunding Grant Program here.

There will be an online webinar hosted by NC IDEA and LocalstakeNC to explain the process and answer questions on December 17th at 1:00pm. You can register for the Crowdfunding Grant Webinar here.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

How To Build an Audience Before Your Crowdfunding Campaign Launches

About Mark Easley
Here is a very interesting post in Forbes about the importance of building your audience before you launch a crowdfunding campaign and how to do it. Author Evan Marsamis has it right, the marketing work done before your launch is as important as what you do after launch. Rule 1 of Crowdfunding: Create Your Crowd!

From Forbes:

How to Build an Audience Before Launching your Crowdfunding Campaign
By Evan Marsamis



Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Investment Crowdfunding Helps Startups Generate Future VC Funding

How is investment crowdfunding helping generate more and bigger investments by VCs? See my comments in this post on WRALTechwire.
About Mark Easley

The three venture funding reports listed in the article are very interesting posts, and it is great to see this strong trend for our North Carolina businesses. I am sure there are many reasons for the increase in venture funding, including more money than ever is available from existing and new venture funds, and we have a very vibrant and active startup community in the Triangle and around the state.

In my opinion we now truly have one of the top startup ecosystems in the nation, allowing us to rank right up there with places like Austin, Boston, Seattle and Atlanta as places where startups want to be and investors want to invest. The strong consideration of our area by Apple and Amazon reinforces that belief.

Of course I view things from the investment crowdfunding perspective, and I think that has made a contribution to the growth of the venture capital market nationwide in a couple of ways:
  • A larger pool of potential companies for the VCs to back. Many companies that are too early stage for most of the VC community have been able to prove their value proposition and achieve important metrics with seed stage investment crowdfunding rounds. So this is providing a larger pool of pre-vetted companies as they move to the Series A and later stages where the VCs like to participate. About the same amount of money is now being raised by companies with crowdfunding as is being raised from early stage angel investors, so the available pool of seed stage funded startups is now much larger.
  • Earlier exit opportunities. The investment crowdfunding platforms have begun to create secondary markets for the stock of these startups. Before, it usually took 5 to 10 years for even a very successful startup to be acquired or have an IPO. But now the early investors and startup employees have a new alternative to getting some of their return earlier. They can sell some of their stock as a secondary offering on one of the investment crowdfunding platforms (Microventures.com in Austin has been a leader in this area), or they can use the Federal JOBS Act Regulation A+ to sell up to $50M worth of their stock as an investment crowdfunding round in what is known as a “Mini IPO”. A percentage of the stock can be from early investors and employees.
Both of these developments are helping the VCs to raise money for their own funds and then invest it in startups, because there is a larger pool of pre-vetted startups to put the money to work, and the potential for some quicker returns on investment. The effect of these developments is not that large yet in North Carolina, but I think it will grow into a significant factor here soon as it has in places like Silicon Valley, Austin, Boston, Seattle and Atlanta. So our startup community has a strong future ahead of it.


Saturday, May 19, 2018

Investment Crowdfunding Seminars

A video of the investment crowdfunding seminar we did recently at the American Underground startup accelerator in Durham is now available. We had a large crowd of interested startuppers and small business owners for our lunch and learn session at AU. 

Mark Easley
These seminars are held at various locations around the state in conjunction with our crowdfunding partners. Mark Easley, the publisher and editor of CrowdfundNC.com is the featured speaker, and he discusses how to use the new North Carolina Localstake NC investment crowdfunding platform to get funding for your startup or existing business.

Localstake NC enables startups and existing businesses to conduct a cost effective and professional debt or equity securities offering and get funding from new sources: their community, customers, partners, and supporters.

This seminar will help both entrepreneurs and investors understand these new funding options and how to make use of them. 

You can learn more and sign up for one of our upcoming live seminars on the Events tab.




Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Investment Crowdfunding Platform Launches in North Carolina

By Mark Easley

Localstake NC enables startups and existing businesses to conduct a cost effective and professional debt or equity securities offering and get funding from new sources: their community, customers, partners, and supporters.

Mark Easley
Investment crowdfunding has been growing significantly around the nation, with billions of dollars raised across many different platforms. Now it's our turn North Carolina! It's time to start investment crowdfunding our most promising North Carolina startups and existing businesses to help grow the economy, create jobs, and enable new products and services in communities all over our state.

Localstake NC is the first investment crowdfunding platform exclusively serving North Carolina. Startups and existing businesses ranging from technology startups to retail shops and restaurants can use the platform to raise money to get a company started or to help it grow.

Localstake NC will be hosting private Reg D 506(b) accredited investor offerings, 506(c) accredited investor offerings that can advertise and do general solicitation, and also public investment crowdfunding offerings using the North Carolina PACES Act exemption or Federal JOBS Act Regulation Crowdfunding or Reg A+ exemptions for retail investors and accredited investors. Startups and existing businesses can have offerings of several types including equity, SAFEs, convertible notes, revenue share loans, and conventional loans.

The new NC PACES Act investment crowdfunding law provides a great new innovative option for raising money from all North Carolina residents.


What are the new securities law exemptions like the NC PACES Act and Regulation Crowdfunding?

Start-up companies and existing businesses play a critical role in creating new jobs and growing the economy. The North Carolina Providing Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs and Small business (NC PACES) Act crowdfunding legislation enables a safe, fair, and easy way to finance startups and existing businesses in North Carolina called investment crowdfunding.


Regulation Crowdfunding is a part of the federal JOBS Act securities law exemption. It is more complicated and expensive to implement, but enables investment crowdfunding at the national level. Offerings using both types of exemptions can be hosted on Localstake NC.

And for the first time, all North Carolina residents can invest in startups and small businesses that use the NC PACES Act or Regulation Crowdfunding to raise money. North Carolina residents can now allocate a portion of their investment funds in an organized and transparent way by opening an investment account on Localstake NC, which is a registered Broker/Dealer in North Carolina. This enables investors to connect with local businesses that are raising money, access organized company profiles and financial information, and build and manage a diversified portfolio of local investments.

North Carolina residents can help fund businesses in their own community while potentially receiving a good return on their investment from interest on revenue share loans and other types of loans. They can also invest in equity offerings from high growth startups that were previously only available to wealthy angel investors, venture capitalists, and private equity firms. These types of investments can now be open to everyone. 

How do businesses get funded on Localstake NC?

The investment crowdfunding mission of a startup or small business is to create a great company profile and offering on Localstake NC that explains:

  • The company vision
  • The problem to be solved
  • The product or service solution they have for that problem
  • Identification of the target market and how to reach it
  • A business plan and model that works
  • An analysis of the competition and how to win
  • A reasonable financial projection of the business
  • The team that that can make the business a success
  • The terms and disclosures about the investment offering

On the company profile webpage on Localstake NC, the business will make the case for the funding they need to get that done, and explain the investment offering they are making.

The next step is to run an investment crowdfunding campaign to raise the needed funding. The goal is to find investors in the community and around North Carolina that share your enthusiasm for your business and will help fund it. Localstake NC also provides the broker/dealer investment accounts and the tools to enable investors to invest, and to manage the required disclosures and reporting to investors by the company.

Businesses can use Localstake NC to raise money using a variety of securities law exemptions including Reg D Rule 506(b) and 506(c), Rule 504, Regulation Crowdfunding (Reg CF), Reg A+ (Mini IPO), and NC PACES Offerings (NCPO). And the securities offered can be a variety of types including convertible notes, preferred or common equity, SAFEs, revenue share loans, or other types of promissory note debt securities.

About Localstake NC

Localstake NC is an extension of Localstake Marketplace LLC, a registered Broker/Dealer, which provides capital raising advisory services and an online investment platform. Localstake, based in Indianapolis, has helped small businesses raise millions of dollars using investment crowdfunding since 2013. Localstake supports federal and intrastate investment crowdfunding offerings in Indiana, Michigan, and Colorado, and is now bringing that expertise to North Carolina. Localstake Marketplace is a registered Broker/Dealer in North Carolina and other states, which means offerings conducted on the platform are regulated under the purview of FINRA and the SEC. Please visit Localstake NC to learn how it works, how to raise fundinghow to invest, how to sign up for a free trial business account or how to sign up for a free investor account.

About CrowdfundNC.com

Localstake NC is partnering with CrowdfundNC.com, an educational and services website that is building the ecosystem needed to support investment crowdfunding in North Carolina. At CrowdfundNC.com you can find the tools and services from the top investment crowdfunding experts in North Carolina to help you put together the right offering, create and market your crowdfunding campaign, and get the funding you need.

Our services partners are North Carolina crowdfunding specialists including crowdfunding advisors, law firms, marketing agencies, sales channel advisors, video creation services, business planning advisors, technology development companies, CPAs, HR service companies and more for the startup and small business community.

The publisher and editor of CrowdfundNC.com is Mark Easley, a leading advocate and expert advisor for investment crowdfunding in North Carolina. Please visit CrowdfundNC.com for more information about CrowdfundNC, getting funded, investing, services, and the NC PACES Act.

For more information:

If you are interested in getting funded you can sign up for a free trial business account on Localstake NC to get started. Investors may sign up for a free investor account to stay informed about the opportunities. Please contact Localstake NC by email support@localstake.com and CrowdfundNC.com by email crowdfundnc@nc.rr.com.